Bond is $100,000 for man accused in Cole’s killing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bond was set at $100,000 Tuesday for Tyler Lee Smith, accused killer of former Vicksburg Assistant Police Chief Walter Cole.

Smith, 51, 3105 N. Washington St., was arrested Nov. 6 and charged with capital murder in the death of Cole, who was found shot to death in his car July 23, 2008.

“My client has been incarcerated for a period of more than a month without bond,” Smith’s attorney, Michael Bonner, told Circuit Judge M. James Chaney. “He is entitled to a reasonable bond.”

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Bonner said his client hoped to be released before Christmas, but Smith was still in the jail this morning, a jail spokesman said.

Tuesday’s court appearance was originally to be a preliminary hearing, but was postponed because of a request by Assistant District Attorney Dewey Arthur, who is prosecuting the case. The hearing is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday.

However, Bonner made the bond request, asking that it be set at $25,000. District Attorney Ricky Smith argued against setting any bond, but told Chaney if one were set, he recommended $100,000 because of the nature of the crime and the fact that Tyler Lee Smith had previous convictions.

Cole, who was 75, was found in his car, parked at Pittman Road and Railroad Avenue, around 8:30 a.m. after a search by his uncle, Willie Jordan, 87. Jordan had become alarmed when he did not see his nephew the previous evening. The two usually saw each other daily, Jordan said.

Smith was booked on capital murder charges because Cole had also been robbed, police Lt. Bobby Stewart said. Mississippi provides for the death sentence in homicides which include a separate felony.

Police have previously said they have evidence that Cole and Tyler Lee Smith were together the night before the shooting. Cole is believed to have been shot around 1 a.m.

Tyler Lee Smith’s convictions include a business burglary this year. He was arrested June 22 for participating in a burglary at the Town and Country Lounge on North Washington Street, and held in the Warren County Jail for 111 days. He pleaded guilty to the charge Oct. 2 and was sentenced by Circuit Judge Isadore Patrick to time served, and released from jail Oct. 7.

Tyler Lee Smith also has a forgery conviction on his record from 1977 and a burglary conviction from 1998, the district attorney said.

Cole was one of the first seven black police officers hired by the department in the early 1970s. He retired in 1995 as third-in-command at the VPD and became a detention officer for the Warren County Sheriff’s Department.

At the time of his death he lived in the Waltersville Estates complex owned by the Vicksburg Housing Authority.


Contact Pamela Hitchins at